The Lexington Legends took the lead in the ninth inning and then escaped a bases-loaded jam as they edged Lakewood, 2-1, on Friday to lock up their first Class A South Atlantic League title since 2001.• Box Score:: Complete prospect coverage ::Lexington took three straight games from the BlueClaws after
The Lexington Legends took the lead in the ninth inning and then escaped a bases-loaded jam as they edged Lakewood, 2-1, on Friday to lock up their first Class A South Atlantic League title since 2001.
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Lexington took three straight games from the BlueClaws after suffering a series-opening loss in which they squandered a five-run lead. In Game 4, however, runs were hard to come by for both clubs.
After throwing a nine-inning no-hitter in Lakewood's semis-clinching victory, Phillies No 18 prospect Spencer Howard retired the first 10 batters he faced and did not allow a hit for four innings. He ultimately completed five innings, allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts.
Manny Olloque ended Howard's no-hit bid with a leadoff single to left field in the fifth, and Cristian Perez followed with an RBI double to put Lexington on the board.
Legends starter J.C. Cloney kept Lakewood off the board over the first five innings, allowing just two hits and a walk. He struck out two and faced three over the minimum in the outing while throwing 51 of 80 pitches for strikes.
Lakewood's offense sprung to life in the sixth inning against the Legends' bullpen. After putting runners on second and third with two outs, Phillies No. 7 prospect Jhailyn Ortiz delivered a game-tying single to plate Simon Muzzioti. Lexington right fielder Cal Jones threw out Jake Scheiner at home on the play, denying Lakewood the go-ahead run.
Perez put the Legends ahead for good in the ninth inning with a sacrifice fly that scored Royals No. 21 prospect Brewer Hicklen, who had coaxed a leadoff walk to open the frame before advancing to third on Olloque's third hit of the game.
Lexington closer Tad Ratliff worked the ninth en route to his third save of the series, although the BlueClaws' made it interesting by stringing together three singles before ultimately leaving the bases loaded.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.